MEDFORD, Mass. – Tufts Men's Soccer downed conference opponent Amherst College 3-0 in the NCAA Division III Tournament "Sweet 16" on Saturday at Bello Field in front of a packed crowd. With the win, the Jumbos advance to the Elite Eight for the third consecutive season.
Tufts (15-0-3) and Amherst (14-5-1) had previously played on September 29, so they had already seen each other earlier in the season. The Mammoths came out looking to push the ball into the Jumbos' half of the field and were able to generate two corner kicks within the first three minutes of the game. The theme early was stingy defense and the first shot of the contest came in the eighth minute when Jumbo junior midfielder Brett Rojas had a right-footed look at the goal, but his strike was saved by Amherst freshman Bernie White. Four minutes later, the Jumbos' junior midfielder Zach Lane had a great look at the goal, but his shot went just high to keep the game scoreless.
Tufts sophomore midfielder Travis Van Brewer put a shot on net with his left boot in the 24th minute that again White stopped. Amherst's defense early did a great job of playing physical and not letting Tufts find the back of the net. The Mammoths' senior midfielder Luke Nguyen got his team's best look of the half in the 30th minute when he fired one in on goal that was saved by Tufts senior goalie Conner Mieth. For the rest of the half, the Jumbos dominated the time of possession creating four corner kick opportunities. Freshman midfielder Aidan Welsh of the brown and blue had the final shot of the half that White was able to knock out of play.
In the first half, Tufts outshot Amherst six (three on goal) to three (one on goal). White recorded three saves and Mieth one in the first 45 minutes of action. The Jumbos generated four corner kick opportunities while the Mammoths created two. Both defenses were physical and committed a combined 10 fouls through the first half.
The brown and blue came out looking to be the aggressors to begin the second half and did so when senior co-captain back Sterling Weatherbie had a good look at the goal from the right side, but sent it just left of the net in the 48th minute. Weatherbie came back two minutes later recording the game's next shot, but White made a good play on the ball to save it. Amherst had two great looks in the 52nd minute that couldn't find the back of the goal. Nguyen had the first shot with his right foot that was saved, then junior defenseman Cutler Coleman had an open look on the left side that went just high of the goal.
The Jumbos broke through the tough Mammoth defense in the 57th minute on great play from their offense. Tufts junior midfielder Gavin Tasker started with the ball coming up the left side, then passed it up the sideline to freshman back Ian Daly. He dished it over to sophomore midfielder Travis Van Brewer, who flicked the ball with his left foot over to Rojas who had a blast that hit the right post and deflected into the net to give the Jumbos a 1-0 edge. The goal was Rojas' second this year while Van Brewer recorded his sixth assist.
Over the next 15 minutes, there were no shots on goal as both defenses attempted to keep the score the way it was. Amherst had a quality opportunity in the 75th minute to score the equalizer when freshman forward German Giammattei booted a shot with his right foot that went wide right of the goal.
Not long after, Tufts sophomore back Derek Enge put a shot on net that White was able to deflect. However, freshman midfielder Zachary Seigelstein followed up the rebound with a strike to the back of the net to put the Jumbos up 2-0 in the 79th minute. The goal was Seigelstein's first of the year and his career.
The Mammoths, down by two goals, looked to go into more of an attack mode as Giammettei and sophomore forward Sebastian Derby each attempted shots that went high and wide. However, it would be the Jumbos who scored again in the 88th minute when senior midfielder Jarod Glover took advantage of a misplay by White and tapped a goal into an open net to increase the lead to 3-0. The goal was Glover's first of the season.
For the game, Tufts outshot Amherst 17 (eight on goal) to nine (two on goal). White led the game with five saves and Mieth stopped two shots. The Jumbos created seven corner kicks to Amherst's three. There were a combined 18 fouls in the match. Nguyen and Rojas each had two shots on goal. The Jumbos' backline of seniors Jackson Najjar, Weatherbie and sophomore Biagio Paoletta kept the Amherst offense out of the Jumbos' territory and made offense difficult for them all day.
Tufts will next be in action on Sunday at 1 pm in the NCAA Quarterfinals against Monclair State at Bello field. Montclair State defeated Ramapo 3-0 in the other NCAA DII Tournament third round game at Bello Field on Saturday to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinal. Sunday's winner will earn a trip to the NCAA "Final Four."
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello
Watch Tufts' 3 Goals ...